I was just thinking the other day that I haven't shared all that much about what we're doing to prepare for June (our "due month" as one of the midwives I see referred to it as). Apart from preparing for the reality of being a family of three(!) very soon, we're also settling into our new home. As the moving dust settles a bit, the baby preparations continue.
Meals & snacks
As such, I've been making some easy meals and stocking the pantry with snacks that are simple to eat. We are reaching the point in the "settling in" process where I can think a bit more about making freezer meals and setting aside some homemade food to store in the freezer for quick reheating.
Nicholas has a significant commute, and our routine as of now includes me prepping and cooking supper while he's on the bus heading home, and he usually gets home between 6:30-7. But when baby boy arrives, time tables are bound to shift, and it will be nice to have some meals that I can thaw in the fridge, and then reheat when Nicholas says he's close to getting home. We're learning quickly that evenings and weekends together are precious and that both of us would rather not spend our evenings cleaning the kitchen ;)
Today, I'm making some "boiled" eggs in our Instant Pot. We love the convenience of them, they're surprisingly easy-to-peel, and I've never had them not turn out. I use the following method for "medium eggs," i.e. finished eggs with solid whites, and firm, but dark yellow yolks (our "perfect" boiled egg) that don't seem dry.
Hard "Boiled" Eggs in the Instant Pot:
- Add 2 cups of water to IP with steamer basket or tray in place.
- Add anywhere from 4-12 eggs (same amount of water is fine, regardless of the # of eggs you want to cook)
- Set IP to manual pressure cook and low pressure for 3 minutes
- Prepare an ice bath (I just add ice and water to a medium-sized bowl)
- When timer goes off, do a quick release of pressure and immediately transfer eggs to ice bath
- Drain ice bath and store in fridge with shells intact until you're ready to enjoy
I currently have cauliflower roasting in the oven to make Summer's Simple Roasted Cauliflower soup (an absolute favorite of mine, but Nicholas doesn't adore it, so it's perfect for lunches for me). It's simple, it's healthy, it's inexpensive, and it reheats really well. Rather than transferring it to a blender, I simply use our immersion blender to make it super smooth, and I love avocado as a topping.
I also made some banana bread, because I had 4 bananas currently too ripe for my taste, and some free time. I used Cookie and Kate's recipe, subbing in all-purpose gf flour and used maple syrup to sweeten. It's so good. I made a double batch and put one loaf in the freezer, since I'll need some good nursing snacks on hand.
All that said, if you have any recommendations for meals that freeze and reheat well, that are gluten-free, and relatively healthy, feel free to send them my way! I'm starting a list so I can spend the next few weeks prepping without feeling overly rushed.
Oh, and I did a little bit of extra-fun baking with my SIL the other day. We made GF apple cider donuts (in donut pans she gave to me after we were joking about/discussing "push presents" and I told her all I'd want as a push present beside baby boy would be a donut pan. ;) I've made this recipe in the past, and it never disappoints. It also make really good "mini" donuts if you use a mini muffin tin. Make sure to use a non-bean flour gf flour mix, as well, since those leave unpleasant aftertastes. My favorite is the Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Flour (with a blue label).
Laundry & diapering
I'm not sure I've talked about that other than mentioning it several months ago, but we are going to use cloth diapers. I'm still novice to all things cloth diapers, but the only way to learn it to try it! We have opted for a few different varieties of diapers. The largest portion of our stash includes Workhorse diapers, to be worn with either covers (we have a few different brands) or with a pocket diaper with the insert removed. And we also have full pocket diapers with extra hemp liners. I'm learning a lot about "prepping" cloth diapers, that is, washing and drying them a minimum of 4 times before baby ever wears them to increase absorbency. I will also note that we intend to use less-toxic disposable diapers for the first couple of weeks, until the "tarry" phase is over and we've given ourselves a little time to adjust to being parents. And then, full-steam ahead to cloth diapers! ;) I currently have only one friend who cloth diapers, so I'm already using her as a significant resource, but I'll also mention things here about it from time to time, especially as we figure out what system we like the best/what works well.
Aside from diapers, I've officially washed all the baby items—clothes, swaddles, sheets, mattress covers, changing pad covers, you name it. Until the nursery is more organized and less of a staging area and until we purchase a dresser, we're storing them in the crib, sorted by size.
Making a space for baby
As I mentioned above, Baby Boy's room is still a bit of a staging area. We have the rocker set up (we love it!), as well as the crib. Still on the list is a dresser, to store his clothes and to use as a changing station. I'd also like to get some wall shelves so we can display some of his books. And we may have a shelf that's been in storage that we'll transfer to the nursery for extra storage. In the meanwhile, the nursery's closet is storing more baby gear, like the bouncer and play mat, baby "health" supplies, books, his bathtub, and various other baby supplies.
All that said, we are expecting that he will sleep in our room for the first several months (or until he rolls over and can't safely sleep in a bassinet). We are airing out our bassinet to make it ready for him, and I'm making space in a basket on my nightstand for nursing supplies and snacks.
Learning & reading
This past weekend, we attended a class at our local hospital (where I'll deliver) about labor and delivery and postpartum. It was jam-packed with info and informative and led to us having some good discussions about my upcoming due date and delivery. It was a little surreal to tour the unit, knowing we'll be back within a matter of weeks to have a baby.
The only book I've managed to consistently read is my same beloved Mama Natural's Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy. I was just talking with a friend the other day about how I feel like I haven't read enough, haven't prepped enough for baby boy. And she was so encouraging to me, reminding me to have grace on myself and that I can't do it all, and also, there is so much about parenthood that you have to learn as you go. Plus, every baby and every birth is different! That said, I have been able to keep up with reading my book (mentioned above) and I've found some posts from Summer Harms* about preparing for birth here (verses and promises to cling to in labor!) and here (physical prep before labor!) to be incredibly useful and encouraging.
I'm naturally getting out and about with errands related to settling in here, and it's been especially nice on the days with blue skies.
I'm also trying to be consistent in my Bible studying, knowing that God is my true source of comfort and in Him, I can find freedom from worry and anxiety, as the big day approaches.
*Although she no longer blogs, I do reference her blog a good deal, for several reasons. I went through a couple significant blog-reading years in college, and her's was a blog I always found encouraging, approachable, and informative. Her recipes are simple and ingredient-focused, as well as tasty, with a lot of gf options. Even back in 2011 when I was in college, dating Nicholas, or in 2014 a (relative) newlywed, her posts about mamahood and birth were fascinating and I knew I'd want to revisit them if and when it was my turn to have a baby. So thank you, Summer!
P.S.—I spend a decent amount of time in public restrooms, thanks to the position of baby boy's head just above my bladder ;) I took this picture and then wondered how different it will be to go to target with a tiny person in my arms. So crazy! The countdown to my due date has officially begun, and now we're less than a month out. Whether he arrives on that day is another matter entirely, but God already knows his birthday, and I can trust Him in that. :)
I've been adding bits and pieces to this post for the last several weeks. Birth, and the arrival of a beautiful baby feel so sacred and I want to do it justice with my words. I shared Cooper's birth story back in 2019, and Finn's birth story feels equally precious, but very different. Here we go!
I'm 36 weeks into this pregnancy, which is hard for me to believe. The second half of this pregnancy has flown by, and we are fully in the throes of preparing for the arrival of this little boy. I was texting my SIL the other day, telling her about my day, and she said, "You are definitely nesting!" Oh, yeah, that makes sense why I have this incredible desire to get things done.
It's a bit difficult for me to articulate, but over the past few years, I've noticed a habitual, or cyclical hardening of my heart. We've experienced loss and grief in ways that were unexpected and deep. Life as mama to a baby and now a toddler is busy and full and that's the nature of it. A nature that easily pulls me to indifference or an aloof heart. A head that says, "Yes, Lord, I know You're good. This baby is a gift from you, You are faithful and true." But a heart that doesn't always feel those truths deeply when I allow weariness to burden my heart to indifference.